Wednesday, May 23, 2007

The New Dragon...

I've spent a life time trying to lift the down trodden with the gift of education as a way out only to have those efforts fall on blind minds and deaf ears. People whose minds were too distracted to realize that an education may be their only hope for a better future. But they valued Nike shoes, gold chains and hip clothes over knowledge. The scoffed at reading and writing and chose hip hop gangster rap instead to be their guide. And now a monster threatens our shores, people who are dying to live on 35 cents a day are changing the economic landscape that we depend on for our way of life. We have no will to fight this dragon. We have lost our way...

If we could take a portion of the 27 million who live in poverty, and put them in American schools, would they too choose hip hop gangster rap over wisdom and sage advice? Would they learn to shun the things that could free them? Would they value and take advantage of their education or would they chose to follow the path of indifference like so many American children? Are we just too limited as humans to make the right choices? Maybe we just haven't evolved enough as a species and it will take millenniums before we can change our self destructive tendencies that seem to be hardwired into our genetic coding. Unfortunately this isn't new to human kind, it's just on a grander scale. It turns out that Darwin was probably right:

"It is not the strongest of the species that survives nor the most intelligent, but those most adaptive to change." Charles Darwin


Disposable People: New Slavery in the Global Economy by Kevin Blades

The horror of slavery, says Kevin Bales, is "not confined to history." It is not only possible that slave labor is responsible for the shoes on your feet or your daily consumption of sugar, he writes, the products of forced labor filter even more quietly into a broad portion of daily Western life. "They made the bricks for the factory that made the TV you watch. In Brazil slaves made the charcoal that tempered the steel that made the springs in your car and the blade on your lawnmower.... Slaves keep your costs low and returns on your investments high." The exhaustive research in Disposable People shows that at least 27 million people are currently enslaved around the world. Bales, considered the world's leading expert on contemporary slavery, reveals the historical and economic conditions behind this resurgence. From Thailand, Mauritania, Brazil, Pakistan, and India, Bales has gathered stories of people in unthinkable conditions, kept in bondage to support their owners' lives. Bales insists that even a small effort from a large number of people could end slavery, and devotes a large chapter to explaining the practical means by which this might be accomplished. "Are we willing to live in a world with slaves?" he asks. As a sign of his commitment, all his royalties from Disposable People will go toward the fight against slavery.

No, University of Surrey lecturer Bales isn't reporting on wage slavery: the stories that slip into the newspaper now and then about workers in sneaker or soccer ball factories in Indonesia or Vietnam earning 20 cents or $1 a week. Bales means 27 million people held in chattel slavery, debt bondage, or contract slavery: "enslaved by violence and held against their wills for purposes of exploitation." Their masters he calls "slaveholders" because they don't claim to own their victims; they control their victims' lives and mobility and gain enormous profits from their labor. Bales investigated five case studies--prostitution in Thailand, water delivery in Mauritania, charcoal making in Brazil, brickmaking in Pakistan, and bonded labor in Indian agriculture--to trace the nature of modern slavery and compare its forms. Three factors explain the new slavery: the population explosion; economic globalization and modernized agriculture; and "the chaos of greed, violence, and corruption created by this economic change in many developing countries." Globalization ties us all to the new slavery, and Bales suggests what the reader can do...

( Hope we evolve faster... )

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